- Nietzsche's Metaphilosophy: The Nature, Method, and Aims of Philosophy ed. by Paul S. Loeb and Matthew Meyer
In this edited volume, Paul Loeb and Matthew Meyer have assembled thirteen contributors to address the topic of Nietzsche and metaphilosophy. We know that Nietzsche was preoccupied with questions about the nature and tasks of philosophy from the very beginning of his intellectual career, notably in his lectures on the pre-Platonic philosophers, and that these questions assume a central role in the writings of his late period, notably BGE.
The volume is divided into four main parts. The first part is entitled "Evolving Metaphilosophies" and features three chapters: Marco Brusotti on metaphilosophy and natural history in Nietzsche, Matthew Meyer on the dialectics of Nietzsche's metaphilosophies, and Antoine Panaïoti on Nietzsche as metaphilospher. Part II is entitled "The Nature of Philosophy" and also features three chapters: Rebecca Bamford on the relationship between science and philosophy in Nietzsche, Paul Loeb on genuine philosophers, value creation, and will to power, and Robert Pippin on philosophy and religion in BGE. The third part, "The Method of Philosophy," again features three essays: Mark Alfano on affective perspectivism as a method of philosophy, Tsarina Doyle on Nietzsche's philosophical naturalism, and Paul Katsafanas on Nietzsche's moral methodology. Part IV features a further four chapters: João Constâncio on Nietzsche's aesthetic conception of philosophy, focused on an interpretation of GS 373 (this in my view is the standout essay in the volume), Beatrix Himmelman on [End Page 273] metaphilosophy and metapolitics in Nietzsche and Heidegger, Scott Jenkins on Nietzsche's psychology of metaphysics (or metaphysics as revenge), and Jacqueline Scott on Nietzsche's tragic philosophy and philosophy's role in creating "healthier racialized identities, " as the title of her essay has it. The volume is a strong one with a number of solid, first-rate contributions. The majority of commentators confine themselves to explicating and illuminating Nietzsche's metaphilosophical ambitions, which is an important task. However, given that philosophical legislation has important pretensions, one also wants to learn how the contributors think Nietzsche's recommendations can be made pertinent to our contemporary planetary and political situation, and this is not adequately attended to in the volume. Owing to the constraints of space I shall restrict this review to commenting on the first three contributions that make up part I of the volume, along with commenting on Loeb's contribution as co-editor of the volume and the final contribution.
The volume kicks off with a contribution by Marco Brusotti on metaphilosophy and natural history in BGE. Brusotti correctly notes the shift that has taken place in Nietzsche's thinking between 1878 and 1886: whereas in HH he had pleaded for "historical philosophizing" as something inseparable from natural science, in the chapter on "We Scholars" in BGE, philosophy is credited with a noble character that signals Nietzsche's alarm at the positivistic subordination of philosophy to science and his rebellion against this as a modern development. Brusotti draws attention to key aphorisms in BGE, as well as to the "Note" that ends the first essay of GM, where it is clear that Nietzsche holds to the view that philosophy has a specific and unique task that distinguishes it from the goals of science, notably that whereas science deals with causal questions the genuine philosopher is preoccupied with value issues (the former may, of course, be a preliminary contribution to the key task of creating values). Brusotti seeks to clarify just what solving the problem of value means for Nietzsche, and suggests that it entails taking the decision to set new values, in which the "decision" amounts to a "fiat," as in "thus it shall be!" (BGE 211). It is at this point in his interpretation that he instructively considers the topic of Nietzsche's naturalism. He asks the question: "Is he a naturalist when he tries to explain historically given values but not when he intends...